Keith Lee made history at NXT Great American Bash when he defeated Adam Cole to become NXT North American and NXT Champion.
Two weeks later, Lee relinquished the NXT North American Championship. At NXT TakeOver XXX, one month after giving up the NXT North American Championship, he lost the NXT Championship to Karrion Kross.
Lee was then called up to Raw two nights later.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Lee discussed dropping two NXT titles and being called up just over a month after Great American Bash.
"Most definitely," Lee said when asked if he preferred a longer reign. "As monumental as it’s been to go to the main roster, I’m not sure it was so important to end that [NXT championship reign] as abruptly as it happened. I watch NXT, and obviously I have some friends there, and one that I’m fairly close to is Mr. Damian Priest, and I watch often to see how he’s doing. Kross went down in our match, then to have Finn [Bálor] as the new champion and he hurts his jaw, it’s hard. I like those guys, and I feel like I abandoned them. It’s difficult to think about. I’m proud of everything I’ve done, and I’ve hung with the top guys from Raw and some of them from SmackDown, but it’s been difficult to see the injuries."
He continued, "I don’t know what would have happened if I had stayed a little bit longer. At the end of the day, we’re not always in control of our journey, and that’s just how it goes. The main roster wanted me, and that’s where I ended up. All I can do right now is root those guys on and be there for them in whatever capacity I can be, while still focusing on what I’m doing."
Lee's presentation immediately changed on the main roster as he received new music and gear. The music has been altered to his voice, but the gear remains the same as he wears a singlet on Raw.
When asked about the changes, Lee said, "I am very happy with my music. There is one little tweak I intend to make over time, but that’s got to be a timing thing and it’s got to be well done for me to make it work the way I want it to. I have some evolutionary ideas for my current music that just hit. In terms of the song itself, I wrote that myself and a lot of it is very personal. I’m very happy with being able to express myself in that manner. Even the track, the guys that did it are brilliant. I’m extremely happy with the way the track sounds. I’m happy with the music overall, and I look forward to the little tweaks I intend to make down the road. As far as gear goes, my gear is the same as NXT except I have to wear a top right now. Is that my choice? No. But I do what I need to do in order to also keep the people I work for happy. At some point, I will get so big that it won’t matter what other people want because Keith Lee knows what’s best. Someone will figure that out at some point, and then I won’t be wearing a top anymore. Until then, I have no problem with this."
Lee competed in a sudden death triple threat match on Raw against AJ Styles and Riddle where the winner would receive a WWE Championship match against Drew McIntyre at WWE TLC.
Styles was victorious in the bout.
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